Naruto Shippuden: Kizuna Drive Stats and Records

Stats time!

Play Time 13h 50m

Scrolls 59/222
Jutsu 23/35
Ninja Tools 23/51

Story Mode Level Ranks

Chapter 1 S
Chapter 2 S
Chapter 3 S
Chapter 4 S
Chapter 5 C
Chapter 6 S
Chapter 7 B
Chapter 8 C
Chapter 9 C
Chapter 10 C
Chapter 11 C
Chapter 12 S
Chapter 13 S
Chapter 14 S
Chapter 15 A
Chapter 16 C
Chapter 17 C

Mission Ranks

D Class
1 B
2 S
3 C
4 S

C Rank
1 B
2 S
3 A
4 B
5 B
6 B
7 B
8 S
9 B

B Rank
1 S
2 S
3 B
4 S
5 S
6 S
7 S
8 B
9 S

A Rank
1 –
2 –
3 S
4 –
5 –
6 –
7 –
8 –
9 –

S Rank
1 –
2 –
3 –
4 –
5 –
6 –

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Naruto Shippuden: Kizuna Drive Review

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It’s time to look at a Naruto PSP game that I have owned for many years. It’s really been sitting in the closet for a long time, but at long last I got to finally complete it. It’s certainly one of the weaker Naruto games thanks to several game mechanics that hold it back. It’s a shame because you can see the potential lurking in the background, but in the end it simply wasn’t enough to make the game as solid as it can be.

It has an original story where Naruto is framed. The Hidden Dreams village believes that he transformed into the Nine Tails and destroyed it, eliminating the leader of the village in the process. As such, they have decided that it is time to destroy Naruto and the rest of the Konoha ninja once and for all. Naruto has to defend himself and take these guys down at the same time. Meanwhile, Sasuke and his allies are closing in on Itachi. They won’t take kindly to anyone that gets in their way. Who will come out on top!?

First off, I’ll give the story kudos for being pretty interesting. The original characters weren’t all that bad. There were 5 new characters. Enzo, the leader of the group for the majority of the game was fairly decent. He wants to avenge his village and leader which works well enough and his design isn’t bad. He makes for a good opponent. Two of the weaker villains were Taiso and Yomito. I didn’t care for either one of them since they never felt all that formidable and you knew that they were going down. While all of the villains were gullible, their individual personalities just didn’t help their case at all. Ryuka easily had the biggest role from the villains and was willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to bring in the Three Heads monster to destroy the world. The heroes were definitely nervous about fighting such a beast so it was a fairly good move. Of course, Ryuka was also being manipulated by the ultimate mastermind. She would probably make for a pretty good hero to have around.

The big villain behind the shadows was fairly generic. He’s old and presumably wise so he strings everyone along with ease. He doesn’t play around, but his end goal makes it feel like he was since he didn’t really think it through. Even with the 3 Heads, I don’t see him destroying the world since the main characters defeated him pretty easily. If they had lost then the Akatsuki would have done the job themselves. He’s pretty good at getting the cheap shots in, but that’s really the extent of his abilities. Without the monster, he wouldn’t have stood a chance.

I have to give the game some credit on the cutscenes though. There’s not a whole lot that you can do with still shots for the most part. This game does everything it can to make them exciting despite this. You have a lot of quick cuts through the images and sharp sound effects. It can also be pretty funny since the game takes itself so seriously the whole time, but I appreciate the effort. Most games would have settled to have the images stay on screen with dialogue but nothing happens. This one at least simulates an actual fight.

The soundtrack is also pretty decent. The themes are certainly limited, but they’re catchy and memorable. I doubt you’ll be forgetting the themes anytime soon once you start playing the game. I would have liked more tunes, but as a whole I feel like the budget for this game was incredibly low. You can see this through the gameplay as there are only a few different bosses and minions. They all end up being reskins that are copy and pasted from each other. It’s pretty lazy and also very noticeable by the end. It makes playing the free missions not quite as fun. At least the game did scrounge together enough budget for an intro and end song. The lyrical song was done very well and at least ended the game on a high note.

What hurts the game is really the gameplay. The actual style isn’t bad as it’s your average 3D fighter. You get one attack button and one for jutsu. You can mix and match the two to use various combos. Dodging and platforming also come in handy. There are no level ups in this game, but you do get scrolls after every mission which amp up your stats. They are incredibly useful and I believe mandatory as well as completing the game without a good set of scrolls would be impossible. Here’s where the game goes too far though.

The bosses have massively large health bars which go down at a very slow rate. It just keeps on crawling and crawling. The levels give you a full 30 minutes to fight the level and in two of them I nearly got timed out by the villain. Levels shouldn’t be that long if it’s a small circle where you just keep pummeling the boss and he won’t go down. The only way to put yourself in a better position is to replay old missions to get better scrolls. The problem is that if you go too far back then the scrolls will be really bad and not useful but if you do the mission that you just beat then you’ll barely be able to beat it and it’ll take a while. Naturally you have to do the latter, but it just feels like artificial padding when you have to beat it again.

There are the free missions you can do instead of the scenario ones to earn the scrolls, but it’s a grind all the same. It took me a while to get past some of the early bosses for that reason since through RNG I kept getting underwhelming scrolls. Towards the end of the game I finally got really good ones that carried me through the game, but it took longer than I would have liked. The A.I. doesn’t help either since it feels like your allies are programmed pretty badly on purpose at times. They attack and heal you as you fight but often times they won’t get out of the boss’ attacks and will get trampled. Once they are out of the way it’s up to you and you won’t be able to deal enough damage. Some bosses also cannot be harmed like the Beetle that you have to trick into crashing into a tree (Which your allies will try to prevent) or others that you have to knock down. These are easily the worst bosses since it takes forever to beat them. I much prefer the opponents that you just fight until you get their health bars to 0.

An easy fix that could have helped the game would be to make the ninjutsu stronger. You know there’s a problem when it’s usually better to spam your normal attacks than to use any specials. Only Naruto had two really great attacks which I spammed forever. The other characters were completely out of luck so I always got worried when I had to play as another character. I couldn’t even look forward to playing as Sasuke. At least Kakashi’s level went by quickly since for some reason Itachi couldn’t fight back. I feel like it was a glitch but it’s possible that they just didn’t program him very well. It’s definitely a real possibility.

The game just padded itself out as long as it possibly could. I ended up finishing the game after around 14 hours and since it only had 17 levels, that’s pretty scary. I wish I could say that the grinding was fun, but since every level is effectively the same and they’re all so long, it definitely wasn’t the most enjoyable experience. It’s hard to see myself going back to this one. Technically it did have a lot of replay value though. You can go back and try to beat the rest of the Free Missions. There are a bunch of other jutsu, ninja tools, and one other thing left to collect that I can’t think of at the moment. Getting all S ranks in the game might help to unlock something as well I’m sure.

Overall, This wasn’t a bad game, but the padding and poor game design prevents it from being quite as good as it should have been. The gameplay and levels were extremely limited and the bosses were poorly designed. Having to try and get new scrolls to get through the game is already bad, but making them completely luck based is even worse. It prevents the combat from being fun when it really should be. It’s a shame since the story is really good along with the visuals. The graphics are on point during the gameplay and cutscenes and the music is memorable. I’d recommend this game, but only after you’ve played all of the other Naruto games and you want something fresh. Otherwise, they’re all more polished than this one is.

Overall 6/10

Medusa vs The Son of Hercules Review

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It’s time for a really old film that basically nobody remembers at this point. It’s just very obscure and it’s easy to see why since it’s pretty low budget and feels kind of random. The good news about this is that the film can basically do whatever it wants because it’s not like there were any expectations for it. The film’s pretty fun and has some nice monster designs. I wasn’t sure if it would be able to stay the course for the whole film and cross the line into boring territory but it stayed entertaining throughout.

The character names are a little tricky, but I know the important ones. Perseo is just an ordinary guy living in the poor slums of the world. He doesn’t know that he is actually the son of Hercules so I’m assuming that as a baby he got lost or was banished for some reason. Either way, he’s content since the princess (He doesn’t know that she is royalty) comes to visit him every day but never tells him that her name. He vows to catch her one day before she escapes him. The problem is that Andromeda has an arranged marriage to Galenore in order to stop an impending war. Galenore and Perseo meet which ends up with Perseo getting humiliated in combat. He will get one chance to redeem himself as Andromeda saves him by initiating a tournament. The winner claims Andromeda so the stakes are high. Can Perseo win?

This is one of those films with a ton of different climaxes. There are many times you’ll think the film is about to end when it just keeps on going. I’d say that this is a good thing for the most part since it means that the film keeps up a very fast tempo. I’d expect nothing less. It’s old but the effects are actually pretty good for its time. Case in point, the monsters. There are two main monsters here. The first one is a Sea Serpent who picks off anyone who gets too close to the water. Fortunately for the serpent, everyone runs to the water and even the villain trips inside it towards the end for plot convenience. I liked his design and this monster was not to be trifled with. Nobody could stop him.

Then we have the Medusa. It’s a living Tornado with an evil eye that turns everyone into stone. It claims a lot of victims during the very first scene but sadly only appears once or twice after that. It’s definitely another strong opponent and this may be my personal favorite Medusa design. At the very least you have to admit that it’s very original and unexpected. Since the Medusa is even in the title, you want it to go down with a little dignity. It certainly had a lot more than the human villains.

Galenore is the main antagonist and he talks a good game while he’s winning. Once he suffers his first defeat, he quickly becomes afraid of his Perseo. He basically cowers behind his father from this point on and only fights when his opponent is at a disadvantage. Naturally I’m not a fan since his only motivation is basically that he wants to marry Andromeda. You can probably see why he’s not my kind of villain from that scene alone. His whip skills were fairly solid I suppose, buit I definitely don’t consider it t be one of the better weapons out there. Give me a sword any day.

Andromeda was an okay heroine. She had bow and arrow skills which is more than I can say for most. I would have been happier if she had used them more during the film though as opposed to getting knocked out with ease. Granted she was in her room in the palace so you’d think that nobody would break in, but the guards were all dispatched in an instant. Honestly the security was pretty terrible. Going against the arranged marriage was good and all, but she could have been more direct with Perseo. The romance was pretty weak throughout though so I’m glad it was given a relatively small presence. I saw the comedy version on Svengoolie with the extra sound effects and I can certainly say that they did at least make all of the scenes a lot funnier. Enough that I’d possibly give it an extra star as most of the additions were pretty well placed and also made Andromeda a better character.

To round out the main cast, I can’t say that I like Perseo all that much either. He just seems a little desperate for Andromeda and yet he still gets completely wrecked in his first fight. I was expecting him to put forth a little more effort to be honest. It was just sad how he lost and even in the rematch he was not faring well for a while until Galenore got overconfident and went too close. It was interesting to see him suddenly become the head of the army and break into the villain base though. It was a pretty big shift in stature in just the span of a few minutes. The King of the heroes wasn’t even that grateful the whole time as he forced Perseo to get in the army. Then we got a plot twist about where Perseo truly belonged which was at least mentioned in the beginning so there was some foreshadowing. I felt bad for the Mom since it took ages for Perseo to arrive. I believe she ended up dying rather tragically as well but I don’t remember the specifics.

It would have been nice if Perseo’s army was a little stronger though. The difference in power was crazy and how did the villains get those overpowered monsters? The heroes losing everyone to the Medusa was also pretty suspect since you’d expect at least a few to throw some arrows or sword stabs into the tornado while it was busy freezing others. Of course, given their lack of teamwork and how they got picked off by random guys the whole time, I suppose it is to be expected.

Overall, This was a pretty fun film. It’s certainly not amazing or anything, but it’s surprisingly a pretty solid experience. Something is always happening and the film never got too fishy with Galenor’s obsession with Andromeda. Perseo was always ready to break things up. The action scenes are entertaining and this just makes for a really good light hearted action film. It’s certainly not serious and it’s not even self aware but you’d be surprised at what you can do with a limited budget. This film was clearly ready for it and I’d certainly be up to seeing more films in this series. I’d recommend checking it out but don’t expect the monsters to get a huge role. At the end of the day, it’s just a story of the hero trying to save the Princess from the villains.

Overall 6/10

Justice League Review

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After all these years of hype the Justice League movie is finally upon us. The series has been amazing so far despite getting critically pounded. Not every film was great, but for the most part they were all solid. This film also ended up being an excellent addition to the cinematic universe. It can be a bit of a slow burner at times but one that does build up to a great climax.

After a quick scene that I actually forgot until after the film, Justice League opens up with an action scene where Batman takes down a Parademon and realizes that the invasion is closer than ever before. This was a perfect scene to kick off the film since it immediately has the aliens show up so the heroes can form the team. While I will have a bunch of critiques coming up, there is nothing I can say about this scene. It was basically perfect from the set design to the Parademon’s special effects. After this Batman decides to track down Cyborg, The Flash, and Aquaman so that these super powered individuals can stop the invasion. Wonder Woman has been alerted to what was happening as well and shows up to help. Can this alliance really stop the armies of Apokolips?

Let’s start with the basics. The soundtrack is really good. It’s not as memorable as Man of Steel but it does a good job of sounding epic. The Wonder Woman theme returns which is always fun. I was expecting the cool Man of Steel tune but maybe next time. The graphics are also really good for the movie and that’s one area where DC really excels. I have yet to see a CBM top BVS, or this film with the backgrounds. Man of Steel and Avengers are also pretty high up in the rankings. Essentially the whole climax of Justice League is in a fiery, apocalyptic future backdrop which makes every scene even more epic.

You also have to give the film credit for most of the outfits. Batman’s is definitely one of the best he has ever had and maybe it is the best. It reminds me a lot of his look from Justice League Heroes. Superman and Wonder Woman’s costumes also look pretty sharp. I’m still not sold on Aquaman and Flash so those didn’t hit it off for me. Cyborg’s was pretty good and I actually liked the mysterious cloak/hoodie costume.

Now let’s get on to the characters. Batman is essentially the lead here. I’d say that he looks pretty good. He is still the brains of the group although his plan is typically just to get whoever he is talking to upset. It took him quite a bit to realize that the guy was Aquaman as well unless that was part of the plan. He gets beat up and saved quite a bit but his reckless self sacrifice plans are still on point. He did have a nice contingency plan for Superman again as well. When it comes to personality he’s still my 2nd favorite character as expected but he is really going to need more power ups as the films go by or he is going to have an even tougher time dealing with the villains. That is give him some prep time once again.

Superman is my favorite character as always even if they decided to go with the edgy route for this film. I don’t mind an edgy Superman if done right after all. He was comically out of character for the entirety of his first scene when he attacks the League. Sure he isn’t too thrilled about why he is around but the Superman you’d expect would just endure this quietly or at least ask some questions. Trying to seriously injure and destroy the other heroes just doesn’t seem to be in character at all. The film played it off like he was actually going to destroy Batman even using one of Batman’s edgy lines from the last film to show how the tables have turned. Later Superman is rather reluctant to help out and must be told to do so. He then does a complete 180 ad starts cracking some jokes and laughing with everyone. It’s almost like they had two different writers and the 2nd one took over just for the climax act of the film so the scenes didn’t gel well.

What both acts really got right was Superman’s power and speed though. If you’re familiar with the characters, you’ll know that Superman is way stronger than the other League members. He could beat them teaming up without using all of his power. The film demonstrates that quite nicely. Even when he’s not been able to be in the sun for a while and was likely not at full power, the heroes just couldn’t hurt him. Wonder Woman is very strong but not strong enough to actually deal damage to him. Flash is fast, but not fast enough to actually land a hit on Superman. This is essentially how every fight with Superman and the League should go and I was incredibly impressed with how Superman looked here. I get the feeling we won’t get to see him look quite as impressive ever again so remember these scenes well.

Going back to Superman’s personality for a second, it is also weird that he holds such a grudge against Batman. It’s true that only Batman called them friends and Superman was rather cold to him throughout the climax but I thought he got over that by now. Wouldn’t Superman give him a second chance or let bygones be bygones? At the very least I’d expect him to try and arrest Batman instead. I still say that Batman should have called in Martha right away. She would have ended the whole situation right away. Despite this, Superman naturally does make the hero calls in the end and he’s still the best. In a way it probably is annoying to have to save the world every other day since nobody else can do it, but Superman will get over it and be inspired again before long.

Wonder Woman naturally gets a big role as well to close out the trinity. It’s likely only second to Batman’s. Until Superman shows up she is the only power hitter of the team so she basically has to fight Steppenwolf on her own. Wonder Woman does a pretty good job of lasting and while he is a little too strong for her just having one more ally who could fight would have been very useful and could have tipped the scales. She’s certainly a solid character as well and I wouldn’t have minded if the main 3 had been the focus of the film since the rest of the League members weren’t all that good compared to them. The only scene where Wonder Woman looks bad is when she decides to go against Batman in his master plan. I’m cool with her disagreeing with him since not messing with death can be sound advice. That being said, she immediately goes for the personal attacks and brings Superman into the discussion yet when Batman responds in kind she snaps and breaks his shoulder. She can dish it out, but evidently she can’t take it. Batman’s response was also pretty on point since she did randomly vanish for a century. We can blame DC for not thinking that plotline through since it was out of character for her, but it happened so she doesn’t have a whole lot of room to counter here.

On a side note, I would have liked to have had more scenes of Batman insulting the League. He had to play ball with them since Superman wasn’t around and he was a bit of a leader for them, but it feels like a missed opportunity. If Superman had been around the whole time, Batman could have acted like the stone cold detective he usually is with subtle burns and verbal shots throughout the film. Maybe next time though and he still got his share of memorable lines. Next up is Aquaman. He’s the worst member on the team so I won’t dwell on him too much. He’s basically just a drunk guy with slight super strength who is supposed to be funny, but never quite makes it. He contributes absolutely nothing to the film. If you take him away then the events don’t change. He feels like filler throughout and the guy seems to just be around to annoy everyone. The film also tries to use him for humor which doesn’t work too well. This guy should not have been in the film and I had a feeling this would be the case ever since the first trailer.

On the humor side, I was impressed with the film. From the trailers/ the last two DC films I got the vibe that the film was going to be over the top with humor. Adding a ton of jokes here and there to liven things up. Surprisingly, the film is still pretty serious the whole time. This does feel like it’s in the same universe as Batman V Superman and the whole opening is very grim. I honestly wouldn’t have minded if the whole film was like the Batman vs Parademons scene as it’s dark out the whole time, but that brings along its own set of risks I suppose. While some of the humor can be forced, it never becomes too distracting from the film. The characters are all pretty serious during the fights as well so it’s not as if they’re distracting themselves. The film handled the balance quite well.

Our next League member is Flash and naturally the TV show comparisons will start the instant he appears. I’m not sure how they could have gotten his design and costume so wrong with the big budget. The TV show’s version looks superior in every way. I can’t speak for the personality since I never saw the Flash, but from the clips I’ve seen he also seems like a much better character. This one looks too young and the fact that he is a novice with his powers can be pretty grating at times. He doesn’t even feel all that fast compared to Quicksilver from the recent X-Men films. Flash would get decimated in a fight if we base it on the movies and while the nerf is okay if the writers felt like they would be getting into plot hax moments like Quicksilver vs Apocalypse, it sort of defeats the purpose of the Flash to an extent. He needed to be more confident and self assured. We got glimpses of Flash being quite intelligent, but they were very subtle and he never even got to fight in the film. He barely threw a single punch until near the very end and those may have just been tackles since it seems like he vibrated through his opponents. He’s essentially a Peter Parker ripoff right now so I’m hoping he improves for next time.

Cyborg is the final main member and he’s all right. He comes across as annoying and whiny for a while though as he’s inflated with self importance. Maybe it’s because he starts off as a Cyborg, but you don’t feel any sympathy for him. He would have died if the parts weren’t merged with him so I don’t think he has a whole lot of room to complain. Now, the process did look painful so if he talked about that then maybe I could buy into it, but he spends the whole time complaining and feeling bad for himself. It’s one big pity party with this guy and his plan at the end was really flawed as well. Without going into detail, he said he could stop the boxes by doing a cool magnetic pulse and all. The thing is, apparently he needs someone to actually push them apart as well and the only way to even have a chance is if you have a guy with Superman-like abilities…and Superman wasn’t around. The plan was for him to do it himself..but how? There’s no way he could have done it so he effectively led the team on a suicide mission. I still think of Cyborg as a Teen Titan and this film didn’t change that, but now that he’s accepted his powers he should improve quite a lot.

Unfortunately Lois Lane was a big miss in this film. Her depression over Superman’s passing is used as the excuse for why she’s not a daring reporter anymore, but this also doesn’t really work well with her character. While she’s never been all that great in this series, at least she took a lot of risks like in BVS where she went to get the spear or in Man of Steel where she broke into an alien ship. In this film she has completely given up on everything and has been reduced to a weak character. Her role is very small anyway, but it’s definitely not the Lois that I expected. Martha Kent is all right I guess, but none of her dialogue is particularly funny or heart warming despite that being the intent. The scenes of Martha and Lois chatting was easily the worst part of the film since it just felt like filler and didn’t add anything to the movie. You would basically just wait for the scenes to be over so we can get back to the plot. Fortunately this film was good at constantly shifting from scene to scene so you were usually not in one place for too long.

A human subplot that was actually decent was the family hiding in a cabin. Granted, this was also complete filler but at least it showed that some people were ready to defend themselves. The plot didn’t end exactly how I pictured with Superman showing up to save them and all, but it was still okay and didn’t last too long. Steppenwolf is basically the only villain in the film. He’s a miss as far as personality is concerned, but he’s a strong fighter which makes for an engaging antagonist. Not too many fighters use an axe so that was cool. He was really creaming the League and just about everyone else he fought aside from a certain hero. He definitely lived up to his hype and I’m eager to see how the films portray Darkseid. So far they’ve been very good at making the villains both strong and fast. I don’t think he will be an exception so Superman vs Darkseid could very well be the greatest fight in live action if handled right.

I do have to question the Amazonian tactics near the beginning though. So, they know that the box is vibrating and they also know more or less that it’s a bad sign since they fought the owners a thousand years ago. Naturally the Queen posts a few guards by it…and then sends the rest of the army to the other side of the island. Why would you do that? I think even a kid could have told you that you leave most of your army by the box that spells imminent danger. As a result, Steppenwolf tears through the few warriors that guards it. Showing her bravery, the Queen deserts her fellow sisters to get the box away and locks the cave behind her to seal their fate. Steppenwolf still destroys just about everyone as he grabs the box and leaves, but would he have fared as well against a whole army? I think he probably would have shredded them all pretty easily, but since the film played it off like the army was a threat, I think it was a tactical blunder.

The Atlanteans were just as bad and only left a few scrubs to block the box. Steppenwolf wrecked them pretty easily and ran off. Honestly the humans were the ones putting up the best effort when you think about it. At first I was also skeptical of how they beat Steppenwolf in the past as well, but since they had a lot of guest stars helping then I was fine with it. I was convinced once the flying warrior showed up and even more when the gods of old turned up. Lets face it, they did all of the work. The Atlanteans, Humans, and Amazonians were just there for moral support.

I can’t say that I cared for the action scenes where Steppenwolf was wrecking those two armies either. It’s just never very fun to have a big character crushing a ton of powerless ones unless it’s a character you really like or something. As I’m not a Steppenwolf fan, you’re just waiting for a hero to show up so it’ll be a fair fight. Then you just keep on waiting until the fight is eventually over.

So, how high does this film rank in the all time list? Well, it’s definitely below Batman V Superman and I’d put it under Man of Steel as well. After that, it’s close between this one and Avengers for third. I think this one will edge out so Avengers grabs the 4th spot and Civil War grabs number 5 which rounds out my Top 5 Live Action CBMs of all time. What gives this one the edge for 3rd are essentially the action scenes since the one thing Avengers lacked was any big fights. Again, it’s an underrated edge for DC as their fight scenes cannot be beaten.

There are two after credit scenes. Surprisingly the first one is the happy comedy one instead of vice versa. Probably a way for DC to be different from Marvel. It’s a decent scene even if it goes nowhere and the film was playing it too safe. We all know that the guy on the right who scrunched up his face during the scene won because he was taking it very seriously. The 2nd scene gets some setup going for future DC films. It should make for a pretty good plot although I definitely want Darkseid for film 2. The problem with having other villains is that I’m going to be asking the real questions the whole time…how can they handle Superman? Black Adam would solve that equation, but everyone else would get lolstomped inside 2 seconds. Especially since Superman has been heavily amped from his already impressive Man of Steel portrayal.

This is a pretty long review as it is. The thoughts keep on piling up but this review would be way too long if I jotted it all down. Feel free to leave a comment if you want to discuss something in more detail. As for miscellaneous thoughts, one area where Avengers does have the edge is in the fact that the characters were already established. As a result, it felt like a huge crossover since all of the characters were crossing over. It merged at 4 films, Hulk, Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America. This one in comparison only merged two, Batman/Superman and Wonder Woman. The other League members debuted in this film so it wasn’t as big and since they were newbies who hadn’t yet had their own film to save the world, they weren’t as impressive as they should be. Marvel’s formula is certainly the right one to building up a team film, but I am ultimately glad DC skipped a few steps because I don’t want to wait 5 more years for the first Justice League. Now that this one has finally been made, we can start expanding the universe more. I wouldn’t even mind if DC forgot about the spinoffs and decided to just focus on churning out Justice League film after film. It would be a pretty unique way to go about it and I’d be on board.

While a few horses certainly seemed to get hit during the battle with Steppenwolf, the film at least had the dignity to not have them be bleeding or crying out in pain. The film was actually surprisingly tame throughout and that’s something I have to give it credit for. There is some language but it’s all very mild for the film. We get one or two mild fanservice shots for Wonder Woman but the film also managed to restrain itself in this area and at least we didn’t have random bath scenes like in BVS. On the whole you can see that this film didn’t really have any major negatives which is essential to being known as an amazing film. Most of the minor stuff I listed above barely even register on the scale. Even the boring scenes or jokes that may not have been funny weren’t bad enough either. The film was very close to being perfect and while I can think of alternate plots that would have been more fun (Like Superman being around during the whole film) the movie did a great job with what it had. Perhaps the gaps of no action will be more noticeable in a re-watch, but maybe not. As a huge DC fan I was pretty invested from start to finish and I imagine this would be the case on a re-watch as well. What can I say, at the end of the day, I’m a big fan of the Justice League so naturally I’ll get an extra kick out of this film. It’s also why I’m a little more critical on it at times, but I think I did a good job of still keeping a very positive tone on it throughout this review. At the end of the day, all films can be a little bit better, but if it’s a 7 or higher, it means that I am satisfied with the result. (Even more so with a 9)

Overall, This was a great film. Once Superman showed up, it became an amazing one. Honestly, Superman’s depiction in terms of strength was enough for me to know that this would be one of the all time greats. He’s my favorite comic book character and I’ve always considered him to quite easily be the strongest character of all as well. DC has continued to surpass my expectations when it comes to fights and power levels. They are simply unmatched and when you have a character like Superman that just makes a lot of sense. I highly recommend checking this film out. It may not be quite as intense as Batman vs Superman or Man of Steel, but it did get the end of the world vibe just right. Something is always happening and the atmosphere is always tense. I will eagerly await the next Justice League or Superman film. It’ll also be nice to see if DC can save Aquaman and Flash in future films, but I feel like sticking to films where Superman can show his stuff is the safest option.

Overall 9/10

Thor: Ragnarok Review

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The MCU has been consistently been getting better as the phases go by. Captain America 2 was better than 1 and 3 was better than 2. Thor 2 was better than 1 and now this latest Thor film has arrived and is the best film in the trilogy. It’s a very fast paced film with a lot of action and hype throughout. It also does a great job of showing how great of a fighter Thor is with or without his hammer. It’s going to be hard for the next Thor film to top this one.

The film starts off with Thor seemingly being held captive by Surtur. Of course, the whole thing is basically just a ruse to get information. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise since think we all found it highly unlikely that Thor can be bound by mere chains. Unfortunately Thor has not stopped Ragnarok by defeating Surtur as the true source of despair shows up. Hela is the goddess of death and her abilities are the real deal as she easily beats Thor and Loki. Thor is going to have to form his own team to defeat her.

The heroes definitely get around in this film as Thor goes to Earth, Surtur’s Domain, Asgard, and the Grandmaster’s planet. It’s fun to see all of the different locales as they all worked quite well. The weakest one design-wise would be Grand Master’s HQ, but the arena looked quite good. Earth may win out since it was great to have a Dr.Strange cameo. He looked really good in that scene and they’re definitely building him up to be one of the team’s power hitters. He’s also one of my favorite Avengers in the MCU so I’m ready to see him get more of a role. He’ll have to keep his list handy since a lot of threats are certainly coming to Earth in the near future.

Thor has a lot of fun in this film as he openly mocks the villains and just tries to enjoy everything he does. He’s a good lead and this is probably the best that he’s been portrayed. He’s a lot wiser than he used to be while still keeping his strength. This is Thor as a leader in addition to being a warrior and it makes him a more complete character. Seeing him fight off an army at the end without his hammer was definitely impressive. It’ll be very hard for me to get used to his new hairstyle though. I’m going to miss the old one until it grows back, but it’s not the worst redesign I’ve seen as it’s still miles above the Joker.

Going back to Thor having fun though, it keeps showing how Marvel is just good at writing comedy. The Iron-Man films have always been pretty fun as the humor is just handled well and this film does a great job with it as well. It’s not forced and most of the jokes land. The only film I can think of in the MCU that failed at being even remotely funny was Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Age of Ultron could be really forced at times, but it was still entertaining, it would just throw you our of the movie for a second. As DC is trying to emulate Marvel with their current movies, hopefully they’ve been taking notes. Wonder Woman wasn’t funny and Justice League’s jokes don’t really seem to be working, but it’s possible they’ll turn it around in the film or by the sequel. It takes time to be funny and writing jokes has always been the hardest part of developing a script if you ask me. That’s why it’s not really a problem as long as the jokes aren’t downright terrible, but if there are a bunch in the movie, then you want them to be good. Again, Thor: Ragnarok did a really good job with this.

Loki was a fun ally to have around. Naturally you can’t trust him at all and the film’s pretty self aware on that, but at least it meant Thor didn’t have to be alone the whole time. It’s always good to have at least one companion on a journey. He didn’t look quite as impressive as usual though since everyone he meets ends up beating him up quite badly. He really took his lumps in this film but always manages to keep his confidence. I’d really be on board with him finally being an ally, not a hero as that’ll never happen, but someone who helps out once in a while and doesn’t try to destroy the world.

Now I’ve never been the biggest Hulk fan. He’s a decently good character and all, but I typically just like him in his more intelligent depictions. The only exceptions are some of the really old Stan Lee era comics where he was pretty sympathetic. The film has a good portrayal of him. He’s not too annoying or anything and can put up a good fight. The writer seems to definitely know who he thinks is the stronger fighter (Thor or Hulk) and I tend to agree with him. Brute strength is great and all, but when you’re about as strong and have a variety of other techniques at your disposal, it’s game set and match. Surprisingly the film gives Hulk a backseat role for the entire climax as he doesn’t get to face off against Hela or anything, but it’s a good way to ensure he doesn’t steal the show or get humiliated in front of his fans. It was not what I expected from his role, but it worked well enough.

Unfortunately, this is probably Bruce Banner’s worst portrayal. He’s really slow on the uptake and panics about everything. He is constantly in a state of shock and just holding everyone back. You almost can’t help but wish for the Hulk to return and maybe this is why Hulk wants to stay out 24/7. It’s also interesting how each side can’t remember anything after they turn so for Bruce it’s like 2 years passed in an instant. That’s actually pretty tragic so I should feel more sympathetic for Bruce…but I don’t. I miss his self assured/over confident version from the first Avengers film. I will always look to that as the definitive Bruce Banner portrayal. The only other one that’s close is from the Indestructible Hulk mini series.

Valkyrie is the main heroine of the film and fulfills the role pretty well. She actually doesn’t get on board with the heroes until near the end of the film so her role isn’t huge or anything but she’s pretty tough. Balancing fighting and drinking is tough but she manages to pull it off. I can’t say that I was a huge fan of hers since her backstory basically involves being a traitor and turning evil. You’re sort of supposed to look past all of that, but it’s a little tricky and I think she would have worked better as a villain like Loki who occasionally helps the heroes. I give the film major props for not going for a romance angle here though. I’m sure the writers were pressured by Hollywood into doing this, but they refused.

Heimdall has his own filler subplot where he beats up a bunch of minions and helps guard the Asgardian survivors. He’s a good character even if he doesn’t get much of a role here. He’s the kind of character who makes more of an impact if you’ve seen the first two films. Since this is the 3rd one, there’s no excuse not too. I miss his classic armor, but his new Bishop redesign works quite well and he lasted quite a while considering how outnumbered he was.

Hela is the main villain and also the best character of the film. She’s a great villain because her goal isn’t crazy or just evil. It’s a pretty rational goal as taking over the multiverse makes sense to prove your supremacy. I can get behind that and I can also buy into her taking over Asgard since it is hers by birthright. She looks extremely impressive in all of her fights. I would have liked a longer round 1 fight with Thor and Loki but seeing them fight while on the light speed tunnel was certainly entertaining. I’m also glad that Thor didn’t back up when they all started hyping her up. As long as you stay on Hela’s good side you’re okay since she doesn’t seem to be in the habit of randomly destroying her minions for no reason. She may very well be the best villain in the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe at this point although I’m expecting big things from Thanos.

Scourge is her right hand man and he gets his own emotional character arc. He starts off as the guy that everyone pushes around and eventually levels up to janitor. I liked him well enough at the beginning I guess, but he’s just not my kind of character. He’s one of the weak links, but his actual scenes aren’t bad so it’s not like he hurts the film. I just didn’t care enough about him to be sympathetic. Surtur appears for a bit and gets his own fight scene, but he’s definitely not as impressive as he was in the comics. Everyone basically uses him the whole time and I have to wonder what his ultimate plan is. He better appear in Thor 4 or I’m going to have to remember him as the villain to have the worst plan in the MCU. He may not have thought it over very carefully.

The Grandmaster was interesting and way better than the Collector. It helps that his actor makes the character pretty entertaining as opposed to simply being quirky. There’s a big difference between the two and you always want to be the former as opposed to the latter. He’s definitely a villain through and through but tries to hide his evil intent through jokes. Hey, if Spiderman can do it for the heroes, why not have a villain with that gimmick as well? It does make sense after all and he was a fun guy to have around. I wouldn’t mind seeing him again.

Korg is one of the quirky supporting characters from the Arena. While I didn’t find his voice quite as hilarious as by theater seemed too (They laughed at just about every one of his lines) it did work pretty well for the character. It’s been a while since we got a very to the point character who speaks softly but always manages to keep everyone in check. Definitely the best portrayal of Korg in all of Marvel. Stan (The Man) Lee also shows up to clean shop. His cameo may be quick, but he really sets the tone in his appearance and also shows that he fears no one. You have to have nerves of steel to have his job after all.

Ragnarok’s soundtrack is absolutely great. The themes are all very sci-fi and fast paced. They help to amplify the fight scenes and make the whole film better. Good music helps make a scene more memorable so as you would expect it also has the same effect on the movie as a whole. Most films don’t insert a big song when a fight scene starts. It’s a popular trope in anime but that’s about it despite this being a fantastic way of building up energy for the scene. Well, Thor pulls it off for both the first and last fight. The last fight in particular is handled extremely well as Thor gets one last vision of a certain character and then unlocks his true power. Aside from maybe Avengers and even that is close, Thor definitely has the best soundtrack in the MCU and is high up there for all of Marvel’s theater films.

The action and effects are certainly on point. The monsters of the fire world certainly looked very impressive and it made for a very good opening fight. Surtur’s design was modernized for the new age and while he was rather skinny I still liked it well enough. Hela’s fight scenes were solid as well and her costume was very faithful to the comics. Thor’s style of combat with his electricity will remind you a lot of Cole McGrath or Starkiller and it’s certainly the most efficient way to fight. When you’re using electricity to enhance your range and strength, it is very hard to dodge or counter that. Now that Thor can fight at this level the only Avenger who can reasonably give him a good fight would be Dr. Strange. I don’t think the others could keep up.

Naturally the film has a scene after the credits so make sure you stick around. There are 2 scenes, but the first one is really the only one you need to worry about. It’s easily one of the best post movie scenes in the MCU as we finally have a significant plot development here which works as a great tease for Infinity War. It’s hard to imagine that the big crossover film is so close, but it is certainly approaching fast. It’s also why it makes sense to beef up the Avengers roster since they’re going to need all the help they can get. I’m not sure how some of the street level fighters will be useful, but maybe they can at least distract the villains with one liners while the real fighters take them down.

Now, there is a little plot hax at the end. It’s nothing major but the final fight’s outcome should have been reversed. On one side we have a giant opponent who is extremely slow and can only attack in a straight line. On the other we have a very nimble fighter who can move quite fast and also has a lot of durability. All the character needed to do was move just a little bit and that would have worked as a dodge. I mean, the planet may not be too stable so surviving some intense energy would still have to happen, but I think the character could pull it off. At the very least, losing due to ring out would have been preferable. I’m trying to keep this review spoiler free so I’ll keep that part vague.

I’d like to say that I’ve covered everything, but with a film this big there will always be something that I’ve missed. As far as the MCU films go, It’s easily top 5. Avengers is better and I’ll also give Civil War the edge but this very well could be the third best film. Age of Ultron gives it a run for its money, but I dare say that Thor beats both Winter Soldier and Spider-Man Homecoming. Either way, it confirms that Thor is certainly top 5 and we’ll see how long it can stay there if Marvel keeps raising the bar. I’m still hoping they go all out with Infinity War and have just about everyone appear. Bring in the old villains, Agents of Shield, even throw the Netflix crew a bone with a portrait on the wall or some kind of cameo. Make this the big event that it should be.

Overall, The film was just about perfect. There’s not much to really say about the film in the negatives department. It did pretty well with keeping the power levels consistent. Not perfect, but basically no film is. I felt bad for the poor dragon who fought Thor, but at least the film didn’t destroy Fenfir as in my head canon he can certainly survive a fall. That was nice. Thor himself has also come a long way since the older films and makes a few speeches about what it means to be a hero. The action scenes are first rate and the graphics are quite good. The film’s also just a lot of fun the whole time and has a ton of replay value. It’s not everyday that you get a film as satisfying as this one. I teetered between an 8 or a 9 for this film for a while, but at the end of the day I think it definitely earns the extra star.

Overall 9/10

My Hero Academia Season 2 Review

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All right, it’s time for the second season to the hit show Hero Academia! The first season really took off and this one naturally followed it with the same excitement. I especially recall seeing it get a lot of buzz when the season first started and I’m sure it held on throughout. On the whole I’d definitely consider this season to beat the first one. It had time for more intense fight scenes and both halves of the season were really solid. I’d argue that the first half beat the second but they both had their share of good scenes.

We start off the season with a bang as the tournament starts. First we get some random events in Olympic style as various teams clash. The episodes are a lot of fun and we get introduced to some new characters like Neito who are extremely good. Once the real 1 on 1 phase of the tournament starts, then things get real. The main highlights of the tournament are Bakugo vs Todoroki and Deku vs Todoroki. Those two fights were leagues better than any of the others in the bracket although that’s not to say that the others were bad. These are just the matches that I had been waiting for. Deku’s had less action than Bakugo’s so it would come in second, but I was glad to finally see him using his powers more.

The dynamic between the characters is also good since any of the 3 can make a claim for being the strongest in the school. I’d say that Deku should easily beat both of them once he gets Full Cowl, but the tourney ended right before that so I was fine with him not being able to match the other two. If Bakugo and Todoroki both fight at full power my money would be on Todoroki, but if Bakugo can use his speed a little more it could definitely go either way.

Then we get to the plot heavy part of the season where the League of Villains attacks again and Stain is around as well. It was the best part of the season to be sure as we got to see Deku, Iida, and Todoroki take on Stain. It’s known as one of the best parts of the season and it’s easy to see why. It stays exciting throughout the whole event and it’s almost hard to go back to the happy days after that. Still, the show manages to pull it off since the directing is quite good and even normal scenes usually feel pretty hype here.

I do think that the season should have ended on a more exciting note though. We get the big teacher vs student battles with All Might taking on Deku and Bakugo towards the end. He certainly wasn’t pulling his punches as much as you’d expect and it made for a really good showdown between them. That should have been the final episode as opposed to ending with Shigaraki getting in some threats and Deku being humiliated again. It could have been a worse ending as we at least got to see new villains, but maybe it just didn’t help that I’m not too impressed with them yet. There’s plenty of time for them to change my mind in the next season. I’m confident that season 3 will continue to improve the series as it’s going to be adapting my favorite arc in the series. Prepare yourself since it may even manage a 9/10 for that one if it plays its cards right.

Well, lets look at the characters. Deku is still a good main character. He was quick to divert from his main mission to go save Iida when he suspected something was wrong. A hero should always be ready to take the initiative like that after all. In his fight with Todoroki he also did a good job of talking sense to him. I don’t care much for his quirk of muttering to himself but it’s not overdone to the point of annoyance so it’s easy to overlook. Deku really just had two problems in this season. One was when he let Shigaraki get the drop on him and just threaten him for a while. It’s moments like those where you have to use Full Cowl and just blast him off. Especially once he started to get choked. That scene was just brutal for Deku fans because you’d expect him to at least do something. Anything is better than just losing like that.
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The other iffy moment is when he is teamed up with Bakugo against All Might and keeps saying that they should run away. Running is never the answer and against an opponent whose main ability is super speed and strength…just doesn’t seem like a good option. I was completely with Bakugo there as the best defense is a good offense. Just fight All Might and claim victory. As the heroes always say, it doesn’t matter who your opponent is as your mission still doesn’t change. You just have to win, that’s the end goal. If they had fought together from the start they probably would have done a lot better.

Todoroki finally gets a lot of development here and he’s still my favorite character. He did a really good job in all of his fights and finally knows that he should always be willing to use his fire. He was the only student smart enough to find Deku in time and does a good job of living up to his rep as a genius. It’s a shame that he doesn’t do much in the future arcs since he has such a nice role here. He’s extremely powerful and dependable. You can’t ask for much more from a character.

Bakugo is also a fun character. In season 1 his bullying could be a little intense, but now that Deku has learned to stand up for himself at least Bakugo doesn’t even try anymore. He still lashes out at everyone all the time and is constantly growling about something, but he’s a solid rival. His attack strategy is very versatile and he’s almost as combat smart as Todoroki. His ego probably isn’t thrilled with how Deku keeps surpassing him, but at least he still just focuses on winning. His only issue at one point was saying that he’d rather lose than fight with Deku since that’s a little too drastic. Beyond that, he’s probably still my second favorite character behind Todoroki and the two of them are pretty close. Todoroki is just still a cooler rival. (Pun intended)

One issue with the heroes taking on villains though is that the main 3 are really the only ones who can fight. I suppose Iida has some combat ability as well, but the kids are just so far behind right now. Uraraka is a fun heroine, but her gravity ability doesn’t really have a whole lot of combat potential. That’s why I’m glad she’s at least learning some hand to hand skills from her mentor. That should make up for her powers and maybe she can find a way to use the two as a combo. Light gravity on herself should allow Uraraka to engage in faster hand to hand combat battles potentially. Hopefully they can do something like that for her.

This is Iida’s final big moment before his character falls down the tubes so I recommend enjoying it. His quest to stop Stain was pretty good, it’s a shame that he just didn’t have the power to back it up. Stain’s simply too fast and Iida is bad at changing directions. It also admittedly wasn’t his best moment as a hero since he didn’t even think about saving the other guy in the crossfire. I would give him a passing grade for the season though since he at least had a good plan for telling Stain. I probably wouldn’t have told the other students either since they would really be in danger at that point.

Tsu gets her own episode but it’s probably one of the weakest in the season. It’s about her helping out on a boat which isn’t bad…but pretty much the definition of filler. It’s definitely fun for her fans and all, but the “veterans” on the ship looked like chumps when they were just thrown overboard like that. They really didn’t expect the villains to try and pull a fast one? That’s a little sad for them if that’s the case. Tsu also can’t really fight so hopefully she’ll get a second power soon.

Momo gets some more development as her battle with self confidence happens during her match against the teacher. She’s a cool character and I think the series can do a lot with her ability. Being able to create anything that she understands is certainly handy. It’s surprising how often she just never gets to appear but maybe that’ll change soon. Kirishima doesn’t have an especially large role here or anything, but he’s still a fun character. His armor ability just has too many limitations at the moment so he really needs to improve it. What’s the point of super strength and durability if it’s only to a mild degree? At least he has enthusiasm.

Kyoka also has a mild role, but she looked really good. At least she’s always ready for a fight and is a capable strategist. She contributed in her battle against Mic with her cool ear drum abilities even if the self damage is a little too high for it to be worth using very often. Tokoyami is also another solid fighter who uses his dark hawk ability and his mind to outsmart the enemy. He’s treated as one of the strongest students and I guess he would be top 5. He’s a cool character that I wouldn’t mind seeing more of as well.

Finally from the main students there is also Mineta, but he is the worst by far. There’s just nothing cool to say about him and he is only here to try and bring in some fanservice. The show is really good about avoiding that trap for the moment so getting rid of him and Midnight would make the show completely stay away from it. Mineta has his own big scene which is terrible and unnecessary so hopefully we don’t go through that again.
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The other classes have some pretty interesting students as well. Neito is easily one of the best as his character exists only to make fun of the main students as he reminds them that talents, not quirks win battles. He actually does really good during the opening events. Considering that he has no powers, the guy really makes an impact. I hope to see a lot more of him as he’s the kind of comic relief character that I can get behind. Mei is a tech student who invents a bunch of stuff. She seems to be a fun enough character although none of her inventions seem like they’ll be enough to help her in a real fight. She’ll definitely have to stick to the support role for a little while longer.

Hitoshi can control people if they talk to him which is certainly a very good ability. After all, as long as he doesn’t let everyone know about that, most villains will automatically talk to him for trash talking and the like. How useful this ability is will directly correlate to how well he can keep a secret. Just keep releasing fake truths to how it works through the news and such and he could be a secret weapon. It’s just a shame that this kind of ability never seems to work on the stronger opponents.

There’s not much to say about the teachers. Aizawa still serves as the Kakashi of the series and reminds the kids that you can’t mess with the adults. I don’t buy into him doing well against Todoroki at all, but being able to turn off a person’s quirk is really handy. The no blinking rule isn’t nearly as useful though since it should be easy to make him blink during a scuffle. He needs a stun gun or something. Principal Nezu is pretty cheap as per usual. I still hold onto my pet theory that he’s a traitor as it would at least give his character a purpose.

I actually like Mic. He made for a pretty good opponent during the battle and had a lot of fun with his exam. His ability is a little overpowered for how the test was structured though. Ectoplasm has a really cool design even if he hasn’t done much yet. Having Shadow Clones is always handy as well for dealing with multiple opponents. I hope he is either really fast or has some hand to hand techniques though. Snipe has a gun and he knows how to fire it. The guy didn’t get to do much in this season though. Midnight’s hormone abilities definitely make for one of the most underwhelming quirks. It’s almost as bad as just having a tail, it’s not going to help against a serious villain.

All Might’s fight is pretty good and while that’s basically the extent of his role here, it’s a pretty good one. It’s good that he didn’t go too easy on the kids because then there wouldn’t have been much of a point to the exercise. I still really like his super hero design even if the frail human mode isn’t nearly as exciting or fun to watch. He embodies what it means to be a super hero and that’s why it’s easy to see All Might as the symbol of hope. He’s starting to keep some secrets from Deku, but nothing massive yet so it’s all good for now.

One thing that’s always annoying though is how the grown ups tell the kids not to make the hero call. The heroes being in trouble for helping stop Stain is pretty awful no matter how you look at it. Sure, they weren’t given permission to use their quirks and such but I thought you were allowed to do that if it was an emergency. I feel like that was mentioned in season 1 and this would count. Now they have to pretend that they never helped in the first place which is pretty bad. I’ve seen similar speeches in many shows and I never agree with them. If you’re in a position to help someone but don’t have a license, you still have to act. There’s no time to go and find someone and being a hero means saving lives over following the rules. The heroes need to work on a better system so they encourage other heroes to help instead of stopping them. Considering that most of humanity has quirks in this series, they’d be a force to be reckoned with if they united instead of being forced to hide their quirks.

The League of Villains didn’t do much yet. One of the few weaknesses to the series is that the villains aren’t very interesting. Stain is really good and Kurogiri/Noumu have cool designs. Beyond that, the rest of basically throwaways. It’s hard to take Shigaraki seriously when he’s always grabbing his face to calm himself down. His power is actually very useful but his personality just doesn’t work as the big leader of the villains. He needs some self confidence or a better design at the very least. Kurogiri looks cool and his power is great. He should just overthrow Shigaraki at this point since he seems more qualified to be leader. I’d definitely like to see more of him since he is easily the most interesting villain right now.

Since there are many Noumu running around now, they are far weaker than the one that fought All Might. It’s too bad that they got nerfed but at least they are still a credible threat to an extent. We get quick cameos for Dabi and Himiko at the end. They will do more in season 3. Considering that they seemed threatened by Shigaraki at the end, their hype is basically gone by this point. I can see why Himiko is a fan favorite since she’s totally crazy, but it’s just not in a cool way. Dabi is fine though and I expect good things from him.

Stain is the big villain of the series and he is certainly as cool as you’d expect. He has a great design and his ability is also very handy. Being able to paralyze someone for a few minutes is downright amazing. In a 1 on 1 fight that is an instant game over for basically anyone. No matter what your quirk is, you’re not going to be able to survive for long if you can’t move. I’m pretty sure you can’t even use your quirk while paralyzed although I’m sure there are probably some exceptions to this rule. Since Stain is still alive, I’m definitely expecting him to return at some point.

Whoever the show has hired as the director definitely needs to stay on. I take a lot of shots at Naruto Shippuden, but that’s because I wish it was a show like this one. Basically every scene is interesting and the characters are mostly all fun. Each episode is over in the blink of an eye since nothing drags on and you don’t keep seeing the same flashbacks. Even though the manga starts to go downhill a little after where season 3 should end, I’m hoping the anime can save it somehow. With this team at the helm I do think there is a chance. It’s one thing to adapt the source material and another to make it even better. This show is one of the latter and this is basically the prime of the series so continue to enjoy it now while the going is good.

As you’d expect the animation is really solid for this season. The colors really stand out and everything is very sharp. You can especially see this in the high budget episodes. I’m glad the show got a good budget since just about every character has some kind of energy element to their abilities and you need to be able to show that off. One look at the episodes and you know this is a modern show. The soundtrack is basically the same as in the first season. It can be kind of nostalgic but I hope they add some new tunes for season 3. It’s a good soundtrack, but you should never be satisfied by just reusing old themes and should always incorporate new ones as the series progresses. I wasn’t too impressed with the new openings visually, but I did like how they sounded. The very first opening is still the best by far though. That one’s iconic at this point and is one of the best no matter what opening you put against it.
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Overall, This was a great followup to the original season. It worked out well that we got another big villain arc here like in the first season. The first season may have done a better job of being really tense since the kids still hadn’t really mastered their powers yet. It went from happy to serious in the blink of an eye there and it was one of the best moments in the series. On the other hand, this season embraced its nature as an action series more and really stepped it up with the fights. For example, the Stain fight here beats anything that was in season 1. The characters were already developed a lot so now getting to see them fight is even more satisfying. It’s a really solid action show that I can recommend to anyone and it’s not complicated or anything so it’s very easy to start.

Overall 8/10

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales Review

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It’s time for another Pirates of the Caribbean film. This series has never been synonymous with quality and this film certainly doesn’t change that. It’s a bad mash of characters trying to be funny along with crude humor. I’ve never been able to get along with the franchise and at this point I don’t see that changing anytime soon. It’s dead in the water at this point. I like to think that the sequel will be better…but it won’t be.

The film starts off with Jack attempting to rob a bank. Unfortunately it seems like he let the door hit him on the way out so he fell asleep while getting drunk inside. The cops open the bank vault and notice him, but don’t do anything about it so Jack gets away. He gets kidnapped and captured several more times after this until he eventually runs into Henry and Carina. Carina wants to find this legendary treasure and Henry wants the treasure so that he can bring his Dad back from being an undead zombie. Jack just wants a good beer. Meanwhile, Salazar and his crew are hunting for Jack. They want to destroy him once and for all since Jack defeated Salazar back when he was just a kid. The race is on!

Yes, we finally get Jack’s backstory. It doesn’t add anything to the film though so we can skip that. Jack is still a very terrible character. He’s always drunk and everyone ends up pushing him around. He can fight to an extent, but usually just remains alive due to plot armor and writing shields. He helps people cheat on their significant others just because he can and seemingly has no morals. He’s always joking but since the writing isn’t good the lines don’t work well. It’s just a mess and that’s putting it lightly. There really isn’t anything likable about Jack.

As for the other main lead, Henry is fairly generic. I guess it’s admirable that he completely ignored Salazar’s threats and went to go get Jack anyway. Saving his father is a noble goal as well, but getting mixed up with these pirates may not have been his best move. He didn’t do a great job of saving Carina either. Henry is a huge step up from Jack, but he’s just pretty generic and there aren’t any really great character traits that he possesses to make him memorable either. You’ll just remember him as another pirate with a sword.

Carina talks a good game as the main heroine, but can rarely back it up. The defiant personality trope can be quite good when handled well, but you can’t just talk the talk. She insults everyone and is constantly bragging about how smart she is, but at the end of the day she doesn’t contribute a whole lot. Her inclusion into the film seems to mainly have been for fanservice and iffy dialogue so I definitely don’t think the film used her all that well. As with Henry, she can just be rather generic.

Next up is Salazar, the main villain. He tries to toe the line of being a funny villain as well as a super evil one. Unfortunately he falls down as a result. His funny scenes aren’t very funny and while he does murder a bunch of people, it’s hard to enjoy him as a villain. Between his design and the fact that it has taken him forever and a day to get revenge on Jack, you have to wonder what he’s been doing all these years. An old villain/rival, Barbossa shows up as well and gets his character arc. I wouldn’t say it’s a great one either as I just don’t like the character. It’s probably a good thing that he didn’t mention the plot twist out loud because that would have been very shocking for all parties involved.

This franchise may try hard, but at this point it’s probably going to need a full reboot to get good. One of the main problems as I mentioned earlier is how there is so much crude humor here. The characters are all rather grotesque. It’s not as extreme as in previous films but enough to make you shake your heads. The designs for the villains prioritize looking dead and old as opposed to scary. The writing is very bad and that ends up hurting the film as well. Throw in the fact that the film is super long and you don’t have the most pleasant of experiences.

I mean, the film also takes place in the olden times for extra salt. Can’t I at least have cool buildings to look at in the meantime? Part of the problem is that pirates aren’t interesting and this whole historical period isn’t very interesting to watch. Everything is very old and dirty. The ocean looks the same after a while and I just miss my neon glass towers. At least we did get an evil ship that had fangs and ghost sharks. Those were interesting enough I suppose. Jack and friends probably should have died during the encounter but the villains can’t catch a break.

There is an after credits scene so if you actually watched the film then I guess you should stick around for it. It seems like the MnMs villain is back which isn’t very exciting. Again, it was a crude humor gimmick where he litters everywhere as he walks with old candy and stuff. I guess they’re going for a horror element with that ending, but this series won’t be able to pull it off. It’ll be back to comedy mode before you know it.

Overall, The writers for the Pirate series must like playing it safe. I feel like just about every Pirates film is the same and they just don’t do anything new. It’s the same old story of Jack making a mockery of everyone and somehow managing to live into the next film. It’s a cycle that just never ends and the films keep making money so that’s not going to stop anytime soon. I just don’t even remotely see the appeal of the franchise and until I do, it’s probably a lost cause for me.

Overall 2/10

Blade Runner Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. A review of the unedited version would be even more negative. All thoughts below should be addressed as such
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It’s time for a sci-fi film that had potential but chose to go for oscar bait moments instead of quality. What should have been an action thriller with lots of epic fight scenes turns into a very melodramatic film with the pacing of a snail. Good luck trying to keep up with the film as you’ll just start to lose interest once the main character doesn’t appear for about 30 minutes. Even when he does appear it’s not as if he’s a good character anyway so then you just want him to go away.

The film starts with Rick humble bragging as he tries to eat some ramen. The cops catch him though and bring him back to the Blade Runner program. He is ordered to murder 3 remnants (androids) who have managed to make it to Earth. He tries to talk a good game about not doing it, but they threaten him so he quickly folds. He retired from this business because it was starting to be too much for him, but he doesn’t have a choice now. He finds one of the remnants pretty easily through his lie detector test and gradually goes looking for the others. The problem is that these remnants have plans of their own and they’re all a lot stronger than Rick. Can he handle them?

Honestly, the long paragraphs of plot details in the intro sounded like they would have made for a better film. I’d love to have actually seen an army of androids revolt and attack the humans. Many good films have been made about that kind of plot. Why do we need to see the aftermath where humans seem to have already won the war. Furthermore, why is our tech so bad when this is the future? It feels like we should be able to damage the androids a lot easier by this point to be honest. Part of the fault lies with Rick though since he has no reaction times and walks into every trap imaginable. If not for the villains taking pity on him or other characters saving him, he’d be dead by now.

As I mentioned earlier, one of the biggest problems with the film is how slowly the film moves. We get extremely long sequences with the villains where they just threaten people and you wonder what the main character is doing. Instead he has a very sketchy romance with Rachael that was pretty disgraceful. It definitely wouldn’t fly nowadays and it was definitely not going to make him a likable character. His only good trait is the internal monologue he is always having. That part was enjoyable at least since most films don’t do that anymore.

The writing is also pretty bad to be honest. The characters talk about random things that have no point. Rick uses very odd questions for the lie detector test which probably serve some kind of point in his mind, but the film should have made the questions better. Even the opening scene just makes you wonder how the humans have lived for so long as a remnant is interrogated in a small room where they let him keep his gun and the interrogator has no weapon. I mean, I could have told those guys that was probably a bad idea. They may not have known for sure that the guy was a remnant yet, but since the point of the interview is that they suspect him, they should have had some defenses ready.

The effects don’t look so good since the film is trying to look bad on purpose. It’s a film set in the future that wants to look like it’s in the past which is a pretty bad mix. Ghost in the Shell did a much better job with the overall design of the city while Terminator did a better job with the actual android designs. As a result, there’s nothing really going well for this film. Even the soundtrack is basically nonexistent.

Watch out as this film can be rather violent as well. It wasn’t too crazy although I did see the edited version, but enough to be worth noting. If you’re not a main character you better watch out as well since the villains effectively have free reign on the whole city. Rick isn’t protecting anything aside from himself so everyone else is on their own. It can be a little frustrating, but since I didn’t like any of the characters it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. It would be worse if his lack of skills caused good characters to die.

Roy is the main villain but his name is the only cool thing about him. He’s just another random villain who tries to have some justifications and moral dilemmas to show that he’s not all bad, but he’s just another villain at the end of the day. He can’t even fully commit to this as he saved Rick towards the end which didn’t make much sense if you ask me. He has his reasons, but it was only a good way for destroying whatever hype Rick might have had left. It was virtually at 0 already though. There’s not much to say about Rachael except that she has no will power and just lets everyone walk over her. So much for a tough personality.

Overall, The biggest problem this film has is that it feels pointless. The plot takes forever to progress. You could watch the opening 20 minutes as they explain Rick’s mission and then skip to the end. You’d basically have a coherent plot, minus one Remnant who was taken down near the middle. The bulk of the film has nothing to do with his mission as the film just lost sight of what was happening. It’s hardly the only problem of course as Rick was definitely terrible and the Rachael was bad as well for letting him have his way. I feel like the sequel should definitely be better, but I can’t say that I have a lot of hope in its chances. This is probably just one series that is beyond saving without some kind of remake.

Overall 1/10

Cliffhanger Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would likely be far harsher.
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It’s time to look at an old action film about climbing the mountains. It’s definitely not a film that I had heard of beforehand, but the premise is fairly interesting and it’s always fun to remember what action films were like back in the day. I mean, this film isn’t as old as I may be hinting, but it’s an era that is certainly past now. It’s a pretty solid film all around and it doesn’t make any big mistakes along the way.

Gabe is one of the world’s greatest mountain rescuers. The average employee on the rangers uses the Helicopter, Gabe prefers to climb the mountain on foot. It was all going well until one of his friends (Hal) brought along a girl to climb the mountain with him. She is afraid of heights though and Hal has fun with this instead of being understanding. Gabe starts to perform his rescue, but the knot comes undone and the girl falls to her doom. Hal blames Gabe for this so Gabe quickly quit the Rangers and ran off for 11 months. After having his fill of guilt tripping himself, Gabe comes back only to find out that a group of people have gotten stuck on the mountain again. Hal is going off to find them, but Gabe knows he won’t be able to get the job done and tags along as well.

This cuts into the villain side of the equation. A group of plane hijackers are after 100 million (I think that was the total. Maybe it was 300 mill) but an FBI agent shoots the plane down and that’s how they crashed. They decide to trick the rangers into helping them find the money. Of course, they just go into threatening mode once the Rangers show up and have them at gun point. Hal and Gabe will have to think fast to get past these guys and back home. They’ll also have to do it quickly as the main heroine (Jessie) and the boss are planning to go after the heroes since the rescue is taking too long. They wouldn’t last a minute against these villains.

I was a little surprised at first when a large chunk of the intro focused on the villains. I wondered where Gabe was, but I guess the writers wanted you to really get to see all of the villains. They were pretty important in this film after all. Eric is a good leader for the group and he certainly plays for keeps here. He’s very persistent as he keeps coming up with different plans to take Gabe down for good. Gotta give him some kudos there. The tech man for the team was also pretty solid as he made sure that the gadget for finding the money could only be used by him. See, this is a smart minion. Most of the others would have just told the boss the password and that would have been game over.

As much credit as I give the villains for their resourcefulness and all…I still had a hard time buying into the plane hijacking. It’s just a little hard to swallow that all of the professional agents would go down so fast. At the very least you need to shoot the guy standing in the center if you’re going to be turned into swiss cheese anyway. So I did like the FBI agent there since he got one last shot just to mess with the villains. He certainly did a lot better than the average agent. Probably the best character in the film if we’re being honest. He just needed to be a little faster on the draw next time.

The film does a good job of mixing the action and the humor. It can actually get very violent and serious at times, but the TV version did a seamless job of editing out the worst parts and glossing over the fights. As a result we were just left with the hype parts. The soccer villain was also pretty interesting since he towed the line between sadistic villain and pun happy eccentric. The soccer skills were definitely impressive, but not as impressive as Hal’s comeback. I’ve always agreed with the characters on this one. If a villain is trying to destroy you anyway, it’s gotten to the point where it’s pretty personal so you may as well counter with a pun for the added disrespect.

The one liners in this film were pretty good like the line about how the campfire was expensive as the heroes burned money to stay warm. I mean, I probably wouldn’t light a fire when there are a bunch of people with guns out to get me, but I suppose the villains didn’t have their glasses ready yet. The romance is the only area of the film that’s rather weak but it doesn’t play much of a role anyway. It pretty much comes and goes with no real fanfare. The writing is all right as it delivers the humor well with the one liners but can be lacking otherwise. Not weak enough to hold the film back though.

There’s nothing really negative to say about Gabe. He didn’t handle the whole situation very well as he just ditched Jessie for absolutely no reason. Leaving for 11 months without a single form of communication and then showing up so Jessie can move out was a terrible plan. Of course the point is that Gabe is best when he’s on the mountain and then he wrecks everybody. He can certainly fight well and he did do his best to save Hal’s friend back when it counted. I don’t like Hal because of how petty he is for a while. I did keep some respect for him though since he still did his best to help Gabe out afterwards. Once the villains took out the guns and started attacking, there was no more time for bickering. The two of them just teamed up without a word. You’d expect that two guys who were friends for so long would be able to do that but it’s something that a lesser film would probably forget to be honest.

An important thing that the film also did well was keeping the pacing quick. The heroes and villains were always on the run so the brief campfire scenes didn’t last long. For an action film like this one, it’s important that the action keeps on going. That may sound obvious, but it can be difficult to always have something happening since the writers have to think of reasons for why each side isn’t dead yet. Since they’re on a snowy mountain that gets really dark at night, that helps quite a bit. It’s always fun to have an ongoing chase and the film’s soundtrack, while forgettable, worked well during these scenes.

Overall, Cliffhanger is a solid film. On one hand, it’s not as if it does anything spectacular that will always let me remember it, but sometimes you don’t need to have a scene like that. The film was consistent throughout and it’s not as if there are many action movies on top of a mountain so I think I’ll definitely remember this film for quite a long time. It is intense so I’d recommend waiting for it to be on TV, but then you’re set for a solid action film. You’ll get to see Gabe put his boxing moves to good use here. The villains never stood a chance to be honest. Now if only the cops could have done something to help. That would have been the icing on top.

Overall 7/10

My Little Pony: The Movie Review

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It’s time to finally take a look at the new My Little Pony film. After being a pocket fan of the series for a while, this was the last step I needed to really embrace the franchise. It was pretty eery walking into the theater as it was completely empty, but it help set the tone for the film. Gradually some little kids came in and I can say that the film succeeded in being an emotional roller coaster for them. They cried when Twilight Sparkle cried, laughed at some of the jokes, and even cheered a bit during the hype moments. Definitely a solid group all around. I definitely enjoyed the film and it hit a lot of the right notes. It could have been better if it had been a little more serious at times and made the Mane 6 more reasonable, but all in all you couldn’t ask for much more from the title. Now the series can finally be mainstream.

So the film starts off with Twilight Sparkle preparing a big party. She’s even going to have a singer show up to wow the crowd. Unfortunately Princess Celestia, Luna, and the other pony all say no to Twilight’s plan to make the party even more awesome. They explain that true friendship is knowing when not to lend a hoof in need. Twilight does her best with her friends but Pinkie Pie squashes the cake by mistake and embarrasses Twilight in front of the town. That’s when the Storm King’s minions show up and take over Equestria. Twilight Sparkle and her friends are wrecked in seconds and forced to flee. They must now find a legendary Queen to save them, but they’ll have to travel outside of their home for once. Going into the modern day cities will be tough since everyone is a swindler and the Ponies are used to dealing with nice folk. This could be tough.

Well, for starters I enjoyed the graphics. It feels like an interesting flash/CGI hybrid at times with how the designs look. They look more wholesome and detailed than the TV show, but at the same time I found myself missing the classic TV show versions once in a while. I think you very quickly get pulled back into the film though and this style certainly worked really well for the energy effects. They really stood out.

The soundtrack for the film is excellent as you would expect. The Open Your Eyes song is definitely catchy and even contained a brief origin story within it. The final song that the movie ends with was also quite good. During the movie the Mane 6 sang a few times as well. While the songs couldn’t quite match those 2, they were still really good. Mix that in with the danger themes in this film and you can see why it was so good. I would have liked to have seen the My Little Pony theme song, but I suppose that might have been too much to ask for.

One thing that the film does well is keeping up a sense of danger during the movie. We get the opening attack on Equestria which was quite good. A slice of life movie would have been solid as well but throwing in the action to make the film really feel special was a good move. We got mini action scenes throughout the film as well since the heroes were being pursued the whole time. The end of the movie doesn’t really have much action as it isn’t taken seriously anymore, but it’s better than nothing. I basically got what I expected in this department.

Unfortunately not all of the Mane 6 members look all that good. Twilight Sparkle is definitely a lot less impressive in combat than she should be in this film. At least the villains had an orb that can one shot any pony in their possession so that made the whole scene a little better. Twilight should have no problem with the minions though and using more magic would have helped them get to the goal a lot sooner. She also doesn’t act like a very nice pony at times like when she yells at Pinkie Pie. I do actually agree with her decision to steal from the other Ponies though. It’s nothing personal to the kids, but Twilight has a kingdom to save so she can’t let these “allies” waste a valuable resource like that. She’d bring it back afterwards anyway so it’s all good. It’s a shame that she couldn’t do that without getting tied up though. It’s a close match between her and Rainbow Dash as the best hero in this film. I’d probably give it to Rainbow Dash here though.

Rainbow Dash definitely gets her props as she helps a group of pirates learn how to be heroes again. Her sped is also put on full display for most of the film so you get to see just how strong she is. It’s a shame that Rainbow Dash didn’t get to actually fight at all though. Seeing her take down the villains would have definitely been really cool. Applejack fans won’t be thrilled as she doesn’t do much here. Some shade is thrown her way by the other ponies, but she takes it in stride for the most part. She just doesn’t get to do anything for most of the film.

Rarity is also basically a non factor here. She falls for Capper’s tricks a lot easier than the other Ponies and was one of the weaker characters here. She spends the majority of the film complaining, although most of the Mane 6 are guilty of that at one point or another. Twilight Sparkle may have had an easier time without her friends since they slowed her down quite a bit. Rarity’s a nice enough pony, she’s just really out of her element. Unfortunately, Fluttershy was probably the worst pony here. She spends most of the film crying or shaking in fear from the villains. I get that she is the nervous one of the group who is lacking in confidence for the most part, but I thought she was past that by now. To an extent this film can feel like a bit of a reboot in terms of character development t make it accessible to the general audience. Fluttershy simply fell victim to this.

Pinkie Pie looks pretty good. She is definitely a little on the hyper side as she makes jokes during moments that would be tense otherwise and helps to sabotage the heroes at times. At least she has heart though and is always smiling. Pinkie Pie was a good character here and I’d probably give her 3rd out of the Mane 6. It was also neat seeing all of the cameos in the background like Cheese Sandwich and Big Mac. It felt like the movie tried to get all of the supporting characters. I’d say that it’s a shame not seeing the Cutie Mark Crusaders much, but I can’t because I prefer the Mane 6 anyway.

Time for the film original characters. I liked Tempest Shadow quite a lot. She makes for a very cool villain with a neat design. She’s also quite powerful and is portrayed as one of the strongest ponies in the whole series. It would be cool if she were to start appearing in the TV show. At this point, Ponyville should be known as one of the strongest places in all of Equestria. I mean, I won’t say much about her role even if the trailer makes it pretty obvious but regardless I thought she was a cool character from start to finish. Sure, she’s rather naive the whole time, but every character has a flaw of some kind. I’d say that she got past it and is easily the best film character. The rest were rather lackluster to be honest.

We’ve got Grubber, who is the comic relief sidekick. He got in the good one liners which weren’t bad, but then he has to try and explain them which isn’t very funny. There wasn’t really a point to his scenes. The Storm King may be the main villain technically but he’s played off as a comic relief character for the most part. He could have easily won the day once and for all if he was a little smarter. Alas, he wasn’t and he ended up lowering his guard quite a bit. I definitely wouldn’t have minded if Tempest had simply betrayed him.

Capper is a smart cat who knows the ways of the world. The problem is that he’s a blatant ripoff of the main character’s sidekick in Zootopia down to his fast manner of speaking and mannerisms. He’s not a bad character as his only flaw is being generic, but I don’t think we really needed him. There was also Princess Skystar who showed up to learn about the powers of friendship but then missed out on the whole climax. So much for that character eh? Trying to guilt trip the Mane 6 certainly wasn’t very nice. There were also the Pirates but they didn’t do much either.

Now, I know for a film you want to use your newfound budget to make other backdrops and all, but I kind of wished we had stayed in Ponyville for a bigger chunk of the film. I much prefer that to the desert, ocean, or any of the other places we went too. I can’t fault the film for wanting to leave since most of the Pony episodes take place there, but it would have been neat to have seen it a little more. Perhaps next time. While the film original characters didn’t get the best of write ups, they weren’t bad. It’s just that the film may have tried to cram in too many of them into the film. At least they all had a purpose so in the end the Ponies could see how many people they reached in the end. After all, at the end of the day, the Ponies just want to make new friends.

If there’s something the next film could improve on, it’s the action. I want to see the Mane 6 take names. I was even expecting Derpy to jump in and start chopping the villains down to size. It doesn’t have to become a full blown action movie although I’d be down with that, but since the Ponies can fight, it would be nice to see them utilizing their abilities more. At the very least, Rainbow Dash can speed blitz most of these guys. We definitely got robbed of our Twilight Sparkle vs Tempest Shadow match.

Overall, My Little Pony is a film you should check out. It has a good amount of action and adventure within it. Twilight Sparkle is a nice character who always does her best even if the other Ponies don’t help her out all that much. Once she tunes them out and gets to work, nothing can stop her. It’s a shame that my favorite Pony Starlight Glimmer didn’t get to show up and wreck Tempest, but we all know how OP she is so it makes sense. Whether you’re a Pony fan or not, you’ll be able to enjoy the interactions between the characters and get invested in the story. The film never drags on so it’s a fun ride from start to finish.

Overall 8/10